Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Apr 2013 10:34 UTC
Legal After Microsoft's extortion racket has failed to stop Android, and after Oracle's crazy baseless lawsuit failed to stop Android, and after Nokia adopting Windows Phone failed to stop Android, Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle are now grasping the next straw in their fruitless efforts to stop Android: they've filed an antitrust complaint with the EU, claiming Google unfairly bundles applications with Android.
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lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

""My Android tablet shipped with Android, with the Google Play store installed, but left Google Maps off."


That's interesting, however I'm not sure the complaint included the tablet market since the smartphone market was explicitly mentioned. Do you have a similar example of an android phone model?
"

I have only two Android devices, and I am familiar with only one other Android device. Two of these three devices are phones, the other is a tablet. They each shipped with different versions of Android, and each shipped with a different set of apps by default. By no means were all of the apps Google's, and some of the more common Google apps for Android were omitted from each device. The Android YouTube app, for example, shipped only on the tablet, yet Google Maps was missing only from the tablet. I think GMail was the only Google app which shipped on all three devices.

That is the extent of personal anecdotes I am able to tell you about it, I'm afraid.

Here is an opinion to consider, perhaps:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130409095055445

If these complaints were true, Facebook couldn't do Facebook Home. Really. Think about it. The Guardian calls its article about Facebook Home, "Lockpicking Android for Fun and Profit"

Facebook has done that, wrapping a shell around Android and using it in a way Google probably doesn't much like but which is perfectly allowable. There isn't a company in the world that doesn't try to protect its brand, by some measure of quality control and standards to follow if you wish to align yourself with the company, but the point is, you can avoid all that if you choose not to align yourself with it, take the code, and use it to suit your own purposes, as both Amazon and Facebook have done.

Here's the thing I'd like to highlight: Microsoft and Nokia are both free to use the free Android code and wrap a shell around it and compete that way too. Presto. No antitrust nonsense about not being able to compete with free, as Fairsearch, like the SCO Group before it, claims:

According to FairSearch, the "below-cost" policy "makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform".

They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do. There is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing that, except pride and stubborness. Nokia was already selling phones based on free code, and it *chose* to use Windows instead and is tanking the company.


Edited 2013-04-10 04:56 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do."

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true & non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.

Edited 2013-04-10 06:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

lemur2,

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do."

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true and non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.


Android is actually the product of the Open Handset Alliance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Handset_Alliance

The Open Handset Alliance is a consortium of 84 firms to develop open standards for mobile devices. Member firms include Google, HTC, Sony, Dell, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, Nvidia, and Wind River Systems.

These firms form a consumer cooperative, they split the development costs of Android between them:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons (or entities) who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit. Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative)


This (a consumer cooperative) is a perfectly legal way of doing business. Because it reduces costs for any one participant, is also far more efficient than any single firm trying to carry similar costs on its own.

If Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle want to reduce their costs and compete, they could always join the co-operative. In fact, they don't even have to do that, since the product of the cooperative is offered to everyone (including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle) to use for free if they want to.

After all, Nokia used to use an open source operating system for its phones:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian

Then Nokia recently chose to switch to Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. It is chutzpah of the highest order for Nokia to abandon its open source OS, switch to the far more costly Microsoft Windows Phone OS, then complain about the low costs of Android.

This is a ludicrous complaint on the face of it, utterly bogus, and painfully obvious that it is. It simply doesn't pass the smell test at all.

Edited 2013-04-10 08:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

lemur2:

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do.

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true & non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.


How could a more costly commercial, proprietary and closed OS, compared to a zero-cost one which anyone can use, possibly be more beneficial for users?

Closed == more expensive, and can contain anti-features.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaged_good#Computer_software
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walled_garden_%28technology%29

Open == zero-cost, and is guaranteed to preserve user freedoms.

Now you perhaps need to know a little bit about EU antitrust law (also called competition law).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_competition_law
Competition law in the European Union has some similarities with the law in the United States antitrust, though there are some key differences; not least, while US law is designed to protect competitors from the power of monopolies, EU law is designed to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour.


My bold. It is all about what is good for the consumer, not necessarily what is good for companies.

This fact underlines just how ridiculous this complaint is. Consumers are greatly benefited, directly, if 84 companies get together and form a co-operative which provides a consumer product at reduced prices, with guarantees that the reduced price will be permanent. That is absolutely great for consumers, especially when the alternative is far more costly and it enables ant-features such as DRM and walled-gardens which are directly against the best interests of consumers.

Edited 2013-04-10 10:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2